Written by Miami Today on October 2, 2003
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
OH CANADA: Miami’s Canadian consulate office has been upgraded to consulate general and will nearly triple staff in a year to increase trade functions. "Miami has become a major hub for business," said Ernest Loignon, consul and program director for political, economic relations and public affairs. He said current offices would expand to fill most of the 16th floor at 200 S Biscayne Blvd. Staff is to grow from about seven to more than 20 by fall 2004. Canada is opening seven new consulates in the US. The San Francisco office also has been upgraded to a consulate general.
LOBBYING FOR MIAMI: Florida FTAA Inc. head Jorge Arrizurieta returned Tuesday from Trinidad and Tobago, where trade ministers were setting the agenda for a critical meeting due in Miami in conjunction with the eighth Americas Business Forum Nov. 17-21. At issue is the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which would create a hemispheric common market. Leading the effort to bring the pact’s headquarters to Miami, he was to meet later that day with US Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick, who was in town to work with organizers on the upcoming meetings.
PORT JOB FAIR: Bankers, shippers, government agents and retailers will be among those recruiting employees at the Port of Miami’s annual job fair. More than 15,000 job seekers are expected at the event, scheduled for 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 14 at Terminal 12. Job seekers are asked to bring several copies of their resumes and wear business attire for on-site interviews. The US Secret Service, South Florida Workforce and Miami-Dade County Empowerment Trust are sponsoring the event. Details: (305) 371-7678.
AUTHORITY GETS ROLLING: Amid the roar of Tri-Rail trains, the Regional Transportation Authority held its first meeting last week in Pompano Beach. The panel approved a $5 billion plan for a regional transit system that includes extending bus and rail systems during the next 20 years. Michael Masanoff was elected chairman and Allen Harper vice chairman. The group spent most of the three-hour meeting drafting its bylaws. In October, the group will hear from Martin County representatives interested in joining the authority.
SENDOFF HONORS: Miami-Dade County transportation administrator Danny Alvarez is leaving with one more award. Last week, the executive director of the Office of Public Transportation Management received the South Florida Commuter Services Leadership Award for commitment and leadership on county public-transportation projects. He previously headed Miami-Dade Transit, overseeing Metromover, Metrorail and the county’s bus system. He announced several weeks ago that he would leave the county this month after the Office of Public Transportation Management merges with Miami-Dade Transit.
NEW FLIGHTS: Beginning Saturday, American Eagle will fly weekends between Miami International Airport and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Flights will leave Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday as well as 12:09 p.m. Saturday only. They will leave Miami at 11:50 a.m. Saturday and Sunday as well as 3:07 p.m. Saturday only.
HISPANIC LEADERS NOTED: Miami-Dade County Commissioner Joe Martinez and State Rep. Ralph Arza will be honored at noon Oct. 10 at the Hispanic Heritage Community Leader Awards. Sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America South Florida Council, the annual event honors Hispanic leaders who have served as positive role models. Tickets are available to the public. Details: (305) 364-0020, Ext. 218.
SMELL OF BOATS: A deal that smelled bad to Hialeah Gardens smelled sweet in Opa-locka, where racing-boat maker Cigarette bought Mako Marine International’s plant at 4355 NW 128th Ave. for $5.25 million, moving from 3131 NE 188th St. in Aventura to occupy 220,478 square feet in four buildings. Ted Konigsberg of Colliers International, who helped seller H&J Properties, said the deal emerged after Cigarette’s plan to use a built-to-suit facility fell through. "Hialeah Gardens refused to issue an occupational license for them, asserting that the smell of fiberglass would negatively impact the surroundings." Mako, sold to Tracker Marine in 1995 by founder Bob Schwebke, who owns H&J, moved to North Carolina this year.
MINISTERIAL PRIMER: An International Roundtable on Oct. 16 will focus on what to expect during the trade ministerial meetings coming to Miami. The November meetings will target creation of a Free Trade Area of the Americas. Panelists include Luis Lauredo, executive director of the FTAA Miami Ministerial and Americas Business Forum; Coral Gables Mayor Donald Slesnick, and Deputy Miami Police Chief Frank Fernandez. The free 5 p.m. session at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, 50 Alhambra Plaza, is sponsored by the City of Coral Gables and Miami Today. Reservations: Techy Fernandez, (305) 358-2663.
TAX INCENTIVES: A conference on tax incentives for developing historic properties Oct. 16-17 will examine issues in the historic-development arena. The Historic Tax Credit Conference at Loews Miami Beach Hotel, 1601 Collins Ave., is sponsored in part by the Florida Department of State and the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association. Registration is $550 after. Non-profit organizations and government employees $425. Details: (202) 354-2040.
IT ANNIVERSARY: Technology group ITWomen is to celebrate its first anniversary with an Oct. 16 luncheon featuring women who have achieved top chief information officer posts. The luncheon at The Design Center of the Americas, 1855 Griffin Road, Dania Beach, will highlight the careers of Nicole Fontayne-Mack, CIO for Broward County; Patricia B. Morrison, executive vice president and CIO of Office Depot; Carrie O’Brien, CIO of Cordis Corp., and Marina Popovetsky, vice president of information technology for AmCOMP Inc. Details: www.itwomen.org.
RACE FUND GROWS: The Miami/Fort Lauderdale Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race for the Cure, due Oct. 18 at Miami’s Bayfront Park, has raised more than $2 million since its inception in 1996. To register: (305) 666-7223.
NEW IN TOWN: Boca Raton’s EB Developers are pursuing their first Miami venture. Called Gables Marquis, the project could include up to 177 units and 11,700 square feet of commercial at Southwest 32nd Avenue and Coral Way. Miami commissioners approved land-use and zoning changes Thursday. A hearing for a major use special permit is scheduled for Oct. 23. Construction could begin early next year, EB Vice President John Markey said Tuesday. "We’ve had a very good experience with the city. We see a lot of opportunity there."
SPORTS DIRECTOR HUNT: The new Miami-Dade Sports Commission, meant to lure youth and amateur sports to the county to capitalize on tourism and tax dollars that such events could generate, is still searching for an executive director, said Chairman Larry Gautier. Led by Vice Mayor of South Miami Mary Scott Russell, a search committee has published the job description in local publications and on statewide websites. Mr. Gautier said he now expects a director to be named by November.
THIRD RITZ DUE: After a $100 million restoration of the DiLido Hotel that began January 2002, the 375-room Ritz-Carlton South Beach at Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue is to open Dec. 11 at $299 per night. Each room was designed to resemble a stateroom on a luxury yacht. It will be the third Ritz-Carlton to open in the county since Key Biscayne’s opening in July 2001. The Coconut Grove hotel began reservations in September 2002.
CORRECTION: A Sept. 25 article about Brickell River ViIlage should have quoted Brett Bibeau, assistant managing director of the Miami River Commission, as saying the project features a 50-foot setback from the water.